B.C. Environment and Climate Change Strategy Minister George Heyman speaks during an announcement at Burns Bog, in Delta, B.C., on Monday, June 29, 2020. The British Columbia government is setting a new target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 after determining it is further from reaching its climate action goals than previously forecasted. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. Environment and Climate Change Strategy Minister George Heyman speaks during an announcement at Burns Bog, in Delta, B.C., on Monday, June 29, 2020. The British Columbia government is setting a new target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 after determining it is further from reaching its climate action goals than previously forecasted. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. behind on climate goals, sets new 2025 emissions target to stay on track

New emissions target requires greenhouse gases in B.C. to fall 16 per cent below 2007 levels by 2025

The British Columbia government is setting a new target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 after determining it is further from reaching its goals than previously forecasted.

The new emissions target requires greenhouse gases in B.C. to fall 16 per cent below 2007 levels by 2025.

It also provides benchmarks to reach the province’s legislated emission targets for 2030, 2040 and 2050 of 40, 60 and 80 per cent below 2007 levels, respectively.

Environment Minister George Heyman said completing a plan to reach the legislated targets in the CleanBC program has been more challenging than anticipated.

The biggest factor in the gap was a change in data and methodology at the federal level that lowered B.C.’s 2007 baseline estimates, he said Wednesday.

A government report also says emissions rose in 2018 due to increases in fuel consumed in heavy-duty diesel vehicles, oil and gas extraction, off-road industrial transport and light-duty gasoline-powered trucks.

Heyman said more needs to be done to meet the targets and the province will set industry-specific targets by March 31.

“The gap that we see today signals the need to redouble our efforts to reduce emissions and to achieve our targets,” Heyman told a news conference.

“We are continuing to do significant work to deliver a detailed road map to our 2030 target and we’re committed to delivering that by the end of next year.”

The announcement came as B.C. released its 2020 Climate Change Accountability Report.

It shows that in 2018 — the most recent year for which data is available — gross greenhouse gas emissions were 67.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. This represents an increase of 4.5 megatonnes from 2007 levels, and was three per cent higher than 2017 emissions, the report says.

The models suggest emissions were expected to begin stabilizing in 2019 before decreasing in 2020 as CleanBC programs begin to take hold along with the effects of COVID-19.

Karen Tam Wu, B.C. director at the Pembina Institute, called the report a “sobering” wake-up call.

“The report offers a frank assessment: our climate plan has a gaping hole that we must fill,” she said in a statement.

Environmental group Stand.earth said the gap to B.C.’s legislated 2030 target has increased from 5.5 megatonnes in the 2019 report to between 7.2 and 11.2 megatonnes.

“Clearly this is a major setback for the government’s plan to meet our climate targets,” Sven Biggs, the group’s Canadian oil and gas program director, said in a news release.

Andrew Radzik, energy campaigner at the Georgia Strait Alliance, said the government can’t expand fracking and the LNG Canada project if it’s serious about meeting its climate goals. The report shows that while other sectors have reduced their emissions, oil and gas emissions continue to grow at an “alarming” rate, he said.

Heyman said LNG Canada, which is not yet operational, is not responsible for the gap in reaching the provincial targets. The government has no plans to rule out future LNG expansion so long as it fits within the CleanBC targets.

“This isn’t a light switch, this is like a dimmer, we’re transitioning,” he said. “To transition, you want to support industries that exist today and make them less carbon intensive and promote and support wide diversification into the jobs and economy of the future.”

Data in the report is from 2018 and does not yet reflect the effects of what has already been done under CleanBC, he said.

The plan has seen successes, such as the “tremendous” uptake of light-duty electric vehicles, he said.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Climate change

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

CSWM is planning to increase the space for loading bays at the Comox Valley Waste Management Centre. Record file photo
CSWM plans increase to number of Comox Valley landfill bays

The expansion prompted in part by COVID-19 spacing requirements

Cumberland is demanding a major clean-up at a Derwent Avenue property. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cumberland orders massive clean-up at downtown house

Uninsured vehicles, illegal structures have been subject of multiple complaints

Andrea Cupelli of the Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness told council the coalition’s needs assessment for non-market housing continues to grow throughout the region, as well as within Comox. . File photo
Coalition to end homelessness asking for additional funding from Comox

The coalition’s needs assessment for non-market housing continues to grow

Work on the first phase of renovations at the Village of Cumberland office is nearing completion. Record file photo
Cumberland office close to re-opening after reno

First phase with COVID measures should be done this month

Cumberland has long gone its own way when it comes to parks. Record file photo
Cumberland hesitant about regional park service

Community was left out of area park plan back fifty years ago

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Most Read